Playing doctor (and not the fun kind)

By | September 18, 2017

Working from home has the benefit of making my day very flexible. Normally I look at this as one of the main advantages of home-based self employment, but this week was different. This week, my son was home sick from school.

My son is in sixth grade, and nearly every year he gets a bad cold within the first two or three weeks of school. This is because children are like cargo ships for germs. Sharing food, wiping noses on the back of their hands, coughing everywhere, jamming their fingers up their noses – it’s disgusting to think about. Welcome to elementary school.

My wife works at an elementary school and she got sick first, at the beginning of last week. Those kids must be really potent because it only took a few days for her to come home with a cold. It went away within a few days, but then my son got sick and missed school on Thursday and Friday. And that’s when my work week came to an end while I played doctor dad.

It’s amazing how much work is involved in taking care of a sick child. I don’t want to sound like a jerk and say it’s woman’s work. It’s the job of whichever parent is available. Unfortunately, that parent is me. What I will say is that, from my observations, women are much better at it (and by it, I mean almost everything).  My wife is like Wonder Woman, and in the same situation I’m borderline helpless.

Pouring fluids, emptying trash cans full of tissues, preparing food, doing dishes and giving medicine certainly doesn’t look difficult when a mother does it. And honestly, it’s not that bad. But when you combine it with trying to work, and being male, it’s not easy.

Luckily my wife helps, even from work. I had to take my son to the doctor on Friday and she texted me everything I needed to ask the doctor. So when the doctor walked into the room, I just handed her my phone.

My son is on the mend, but now my wife is sick again and it’s much worse than before. Looks like she needs a reliable, competent caretaker to run the household and take care of her. Unfortunately, all she’s got is me.

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